« MYANMAR – THE LIFE AQUATIC
Legendary River Cruises
Irrawaddy Antiquity Cruise – Mandalay to Bagan
Chindwin River India Cruise – Mandalay to Mawlaik
Irrawaddy China Cruise – Mandalay to Bhamo
Our select Legendary Myanmar River Cruises series is nothing less than spectacular, and each ranks among the great river cruises of the world. The most popular Myanmar river cruises are between Mandalay and Bagan, and vice verse, ranging from one to four nights. For those with more time and daring, the Chindwin River India Cruise and the Irrawaddy China Cruise are what puts the ‘legend’ in ‘legendary’.
Mandalay – Mingun – Sagaing – Bagan: Imagine boarding the old world elegance of the RV Paukan for a luxury Myanmar river cruise down the mighty Irrawaddy to the ancient spectacle of Bagan. Built in 2007 and modeled after the 1947 RV Pandaw, the Paukan harkens back to colonial South East Asia as she glides you slowly toward the temples of antiquity. Great cocktails and superb dining complemented by impeccable and charming service make any journey aboard the Paukan one of life’s great exotic pleasures.
The 11-nights Chindwin River India Cruise, also aboard the Paukan, takes you from Bagan deep into pastoral Burma, through teeming jungle rainforests and valleys backed by velvety blue mountains that look more like paintings than reality.
The remote land excursions that await are equally wondrous, giving you a true glimpse into the heart of Burma. Along the way you will visit ancient Buddha caves, fantastic teak-carved monasteries, bucolic villages, vivid greed rice paddies, a colorful India trading port, and the former British outpost of Mawlaik, once the colonial administrative center for the vast teak forests surrounding it.
The 11-nights Irrawaddy China Cruise aboard the sleek cruising vessel, The Road to Mandalay, is one of the most exotic Burma cruises available, that takes you from Mandalay north through three stunning river gorges. Among many other things, you’ll hang out in George Orwell’s Burmese Days market of Katha, take a 19th century jungle train to Naba, see the beautiful island pagoda of Shwe Paw, and sail all the way to Bhamo – the last city before the river vanishes into the Yunnan Hills of China.
Irrawaddy “China” Cruise – Mandalay to Bhamo
Day 1: Yangon – Mandalay – Mingun
Board the Road To Mandalay berthed on the Irrawaddy River opposite the Sagaing Hills studded with numerous white pagodas. The ship sets sail on its voyage to northern Myanmar through the unique gorges that characterize this stretch of the river. At Mingun you visit the world’s largest brick-built pagoda and un-cracked bell. In the evening, a welcome dinner allows you to get to know your fellow travelers.
Day 2: Mingun – Nwe Nyein
The ship makes an early start entering the first of three gorges around midday. Anchor off Nwe Nyein for a walking tour and to see traditional clay pot sculpting. Later, sail past the picturesque island pagoda of Thihadaw before enjoying a cocktail party on the Top Deck.
Day 3: Kyan Hnyat – Katha
An early morning stroll around the delightful village of Kyan Hnyat where school children greet you and the morning market bustles with activity. Sailing north, vast stretches of the river spread out before you with interesting rural villages dotted on its shores. As the sun sets, the ship anchors south of the old market town of Katha, famous as the site where the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company scuttled its fleet in 1942. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.
Day 4: Katha – Shwegu
Visit Katha by trishaw in the early morning and visit the market place made famous by George Orwell in “Burmese Days”. Back on board the ship continues its journey north through the expansive scenery, with the distant mountains marking the second defile coming into view in the afternoon. The ship anchors off the splendid island pagoda of Shwe Paw, just north of the town of Shwegu. Boats will take you ashore to explore the ancient site. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.
Day 5: Zinbon – Bhamo
This morning the ship passes through the splendid second gorge with its green-clad mountains reaching down to the narrowing channel. Sail past logging camps and the old colonial village of Zinbon towards the challenging first gorge.
Visit the serene Thein Pa Taung Meditation centre, home to many of Myanmar’s monks and nuns. The ship sails as far north as possible and then turns around to drop anchor off Bhamo where you may take a stroll and meet the locals. The scenery in this unspoiled area is spectacular.
Day 6: Bhamo – Katha
Morning visit to Bhamo, barely 50 miles from the Chinese border in the foothills of Yunnan. Local transport carries you into the countryside, past paddy fields and towards the mountains before returning to the ship for an early afternoon departure. Breakfast, lunch and dinner on board.
Day 7: Katha – Kyan Hnyat
In the early morning, board the train to the forest station of Naba and experience a journey into thick Kachin jungle and teak forests. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon’s sailing as the ship makes its way for Kyan Hnayt. Finish off the day with a few cocktails on Top Deck and dinner in the restaurant.
Day 8: Kyan Hnyat – Mogok
This morning the ship anchors off Thabeikkyin where you will take the road that winds towards Mogok past a forestry reserve where many precious botanical specimens are grown for their essential oils. Meet working elephants in the Burmese teak forest before returning to the ship to head south again.
Day 9: Mandalay
Mandalay comes into view early morning. Disembark for a varied tour of Burma’s second city, including lunch at a local restaurant. Rejoin the ship at the quaint Burmese village of Shwe Kyet Yet and enjoy a tribal dance display in the evening. Breakfast and dinner on board.
Day 10: Bagan
The ship sets sail early morning for Bagan. Along the way you see many villages with women doing the household chores by the river and waving children. Witness sunset over the marvelous Bagan plain to whet your appetite for tomorrow’s tours. Traditional Bagan artists perform for you this evening.
Day 11: Bagan – Mt Popa
On your final day, visit the ancient sites in and around Bagan with the experienced guide. The afternoon brings an optional tour to Mount Popa, legendary sacred home of the Nats, with its impressive summit monastery or take a horse-drawn cart or bicycle to explore on your own.
Celebrate your final evening onboard at a cocktail party on the Top Deck and say goodbye to your new friends during the Farewell Dinner.
Day 12: Yangon
An early departure this morning to Bagan airport for your flight to Yangon.
Irrawaddy “China” Cruise – Mandalay to Bhamo
Starting at $4300 USD
On board accommodation
All on board meals / non-alcoholic drinks
Airport greeting/sendoff in Yangon and/or Mandalay
Flight from Bagan to Yangon
Land excursion transportation and guide services
Donations to Luminous Journeys’ micro-NGO Charities
hotels, meals or transportation unrelated to the cruise itinerary
trip/medical insurance, medical expenses
personal expenses, such as telephone, laundry, alcohol, etc.
tips for ship personnel
guide or driver gratuities
Myanmar visa fee (Visa on arrival may be obtained via Luminous Journeys)